Thursday, September 07, 2006
When I first saw Vernon McKissack's illustrations in the 1964 edition of Field Enterprise's Childcraft textbooks, I found them immediately appealing. McKissack contributed only a half a dozen illustrations to the one volume I have, but his work appears again in a 1979 edition so I expect he contributed to quite a few textbooks in this series.
Its the '64 work I really love - there's a nice energetic flair to his style which unfortunately seems to have disappeared from his tighter, more homogenized 1979 efforts.
Finding any information on the artist was not entirely fruitless - but just about. One search turned up a library listing of books and filmstrips for which he has illustration credits - more than 70 in total and as recently as 1996. But what really got me wondering is the similarity in style between McKissack's textbook illustrations and the design of the characters in Rankin Bass' 1969 tv special, Frosty the Snowman.
Could McKissack be the artist responsible for designing these characters? Perhaps someone with an animation background will read this and enlighten us.
You'll find these and several more pieces by McKissack in my Vernon McKissack Flickr set.